It was better.
At least, it was edible and I could cut it with a knife. It was not as good as most store-bought versions, but good enough for someone stranded in a Jamaican bakery embargo zone.
The recipe is derived from ‘Traditional Jamaican Cookery’ by Norma Benghiat.
Metric conversions and approximations are mine. Editorial comments (written like this) are also mine, based on experiential trial and error. Mostly errror.
Jamaican Easter Bun
6 tsp Traditional Dry Active Yeast (Fleishman’s in a bottle, not in a packet)
1 cup Milk, hot
1 cup Butter or Margarine, melted
1 cup Brown sugar
1 Whole Nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp molasses
1 egg, beaten
6 cup Flour
4 oz raisin (or 125 g which is about ½ cup)
4 oz currants (or 125 g …)
4 oz chopped citron (or …)
4 oz cherries (…)
1 heavy duty KitchenAid Mix Master
Proof yeast by dissolving into ½ cup warm water (50 degrees according to Fleischman) . Add 1 tsp of sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until foamy.
Hint: Use a bowl large enough for the yeast to foam and bubble up like the incredible blob in a cheesy SciFi movie.
Large .. like a big Japanese ramen soup bowl or a 1 quart mixing bowl.
Large .. like not an oatmeal cereal bowl.
Mix milk, butter, spices, sugar , eggs, salt & molasses.
Mix flour with dried fruits.
Place half in the Mix master . Use dough hook. Add yeast & mix . Add liquid & remaining flour.
Have the Mixmaster knead dough until smooth. Might be around 5 minutes.
Hint: The dough is pretty stiff and the Mixmaster might start walking across the counter. ‘Be a man’ and lock it down – it’s not the Master of you
Proof dough by placing in a large bowl, cover and let raise for 2 hours at room temperature.
Hint: If the room is cool (say, in Canada on a cold day) place over (not in) a pan of hot water. If the room is hot (say, Singapore on a typical day) place it close to a pan of ice cubes.
After 2 hours, do the 2 finger test. Stick 2 fingers in the dough & if it doesn’t immediately collapse into the holes, it’s ready.
Divide dough into 3 loaves and do the second & final raise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 325. Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Brush tops with mixture of sugar, molasses & water. Bake for another 15 minutes. Buns are cooked when a skewer comes out clean.
Hint: If the yeast was alive and well, the loaves will rise and expand in the oven a third time. This is proof of life. If the yeast was stale and dead … well that was my previous post.